Friday, February 27, 2009

zooma zooma/angelina [for zara...]

i would eat this antipasto fifty times. one of the most amazing things in my life, the mont blanc was pure pleasure, the hot chocolate was pure, melted pleasure [a blog on paris breakfasts, w more pics]. hot choc and mont blanc are the two most popular things at angelina in paris, just near the louvre. "Although this palace has become a veritable institution, it still keeps its recipes secret. The thick, frothy beverage is served in a hot-chocolate pot, accompanied by a jug of whipped cream to complement it. The Mont-Blanc pastry comes from the Italian Alps. It consists of meringue, whipped cream and sweet chestnut cream." angelina is a chocolate house which opened in 1903, and it looks like it, an old, elegant salon, serving the most amazing hot chocolate, really, and the signature dessert, mont blanc, which, again, is out of this world. so good. "One should come as soon as it opens while the tea-room is still quiet and almost empty. The unchanging ballet of waiters then begins. The setting has remained almost identical for nearly a hundred years. Only a few Art Déco chandeliers were added around 1930. From floor to ceiling, the gilded moulding plunges us into the prestige of bygone times. On the ground floor, a large long room, lit by a glass roof letting the daylight in, receives small groups at tea-time, gathered around marble and wooden tables for a snack. A few people sitting in the window watch passers-by strolling by, while eating a Viennese pastry. At the back of the room, alcoves make it possible to set large tables for a dozen people or so who can meet quietly together. The mezzanine, almost hidden away and covered in red, attracts a few customers. In all, the restaurant can serve more than a hundred people." aviva told me to go there, though she doesn't read this lexical space; i went with zara, and she loved it like me. other people love it too: "The famous fashion designer Coco Chanel and the writer Marcel Proust used to take their five o'clock tea there. King George V of Britain had his own engraved glasses there. Today, artists such as Catherine Deneuve, Britney Spears and Patricia Kass are regular customers." i went to the angelina in bangkok, in central chidlom department store, it was a small section and kind of looked the same style, but the mont blanc was nothing ... nothing. and the hot choc was not as good as j&c here in mtl. regardless, i remember angelina in paris. i remember it so well. but i forgot to go there when i was in paris in december.

Monday, February 23, 2009

rik mayall is an utter b'stard

he is the only one, the one and only, there is no other b'stard. rik mayall is just so wickedly brilliant, his depiction of alan b'stard the evil member of parli-a-ment is a turn of genius, a mark of comic prowess, capped by an unending charisma energy personality. [my fave scene]. his aptitude for hilarity and skill at delivery is quite unmatched, the depths of his schemes and cunning are supremely creative and unbelievable, like the time he faked his own death by gunshot, right after putting down ten thousand pounds on ten to one odds that parliament would bring back the death penalty, which they did in light of an mp's shooting on the steps of westminster; or like the time he proposed a postcode lottery for cancer treatment so that 'only the right people get better'. there's nothing more satisfying than b'stard's brashness (brilliant clip with stephen fry and 'piers'). there's nothing like mayall, whose turn in blackadder as lord flashheart encapsulated his arrogance, misogyny, and hilarity (see here). there's nothing like b'stard, who always finds a way out, always gets his way, and it's always uncut, unbelievable, unadalterated fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

i think i will leave.

i want out. freedom is ever postponed. i want out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


i loved florence when i lived there and i hated rome then for its busyness. the next time, when i visited rome primarily, i came to love its excitement and its italian-ness, and visiting florence was a drudgery due its american-ness. italy generally is wonderful in its beauty, history, culture, streets, fountains, language, food, people, statues, temples, churches, coliseums, pillars, arches, trees, hills, sky, air, gelato, piazzas. i love piazza culture, young/old people walking in and out of small streets into/onto large open spaces where other people are sitting talking laughing eating loving watching; the shops all around, the fountains in and around. the people are fashionable and pretty, wearing colours that reflect their internal passion for life, fueled by an openness with love, something that the continent embraced but which english and, by extension, north american culture suppressed. i loved parma; a small town with a towering medieval university and surprisingly large population of young people, who were the only people out at night, lounging on the lawn of the university, basking in the light of the late-night pizzeria and gelateria, talking singing playing loving, until they move on into the main piazza which is deserted except for one small street in which almost all the youth of the town are gathered inside and outside of a bar. i loved that restaurant there i went to by accident, and ate dinner and lunch the next day, it was so good i ate it all, the antipasto the primi the secondi the insalata and the dolce. i loved the shops there too, i found such interesting and well-made items. but rome really is spectacular in its physical oppenness its grandiosity which is at the same time surrounded by networks of small mysteries, like the choclit shoppe with the chocolate shooter glasses. but venice is the real hub of mystery. at night it's deserted, not a soul except the lonesome wandering carabinieri, who tells you that the island is completely safe despite its seeming danger awaiting every twisted corner and turn, of which there are millions in that little space with the high walls and small streets, which conjure images of men and women running and chasing mischievously in long capes and masks. i loved florence, with its museum that used to be the academy in which every night musicians would play in the open courtyard surrounded by statues of the founders of western humanism all of whom lived there and flourished under the medici. but, nothing gets done in italy. in a way, i love that, it's comfortable to me, i feel constricted by the rule-obsessed repression of western society; i grew up in a third-world country, i live in the third-world city of north america (where the roads are bad health care is abominable and things don't get done administratively), and thus i suppose it's natural i'd like italy, the third world of western europe. but it really does have a natural beauty, which really is matched by its historical and architectural beauty; it is a place that is thousands of years old and has the histories of my favourite periods in european history, classical and renaissance (both are philosophically the same if one was to look for a link in my thought-chain). it's such a cliche to love italy, but it is part of my mental heritage as well, being schooled in liberal humanism all my life, and while india's beauty/culture/heritage/homeness holds its real sway over me, italy is my second love.

for nik ... (boylan's: the best soda on earth?)

boylan's, another something i picked up from my brother. one of the oldest bottling companies, founded in 1891 and still using original recipes with the most expensive extracts and essences, as well as cane sugar, which enhances the flavour rather than leaving a syrupy aftertaste, unlike most soda-pop companies, who've switched to corn syrup and plastic bottles, which, unlike boylan's stylish glass bottles, don't ensure freshness and high levels of carbonation. boylan's. with birch beer as their flagship drink for over a hundred years, have a wide variety of different original flavours, as well as seltzers and diets and 100% natural sodas. boylan's. which nik ran all over town trying to find for me because she's just that nice. boylan's. for prodigal profligates like me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

'kara dash' the black stone in turkey; 'karandash' the pencil in russian; 'caran d'ache' the political satirist in france; CARAN D'ACHE THE SWISS PEN.

a habit i picked up from my grandfather, an affinity that i share with my brother, something that we three talk about without fail when we are together - pens. my grandfather always has a collection of them for us to sift through, to test and choose from, giving us his thoughts and testing them together. caran d'ache is his favourite, moreso than his mont blancs and cartiers. the pens glide smoothly over the page, the wrist moves effortlessly, the fingers grip loosely. while they are annoying to me in artistic moments, as i require more drag more pull, for mundane work they are spectacular and fun and beautiful - the unpretentious slim sexagonal sliver with the tapered tip. while i have the gold ones the silver ones i've come to very much enjoy the more whimsical pieces, the amusing images and colours, the reds blues yellows. and they all remind me of bangkok cuz that's where i get them, that's where when i was young i used to go to the stationery department of central chidlom with my grandfather every time, to look at all the hundreds of different pens and test them and hold them, though we never really needed them we loved them nonetheless.

fleming and his bond books

it was like nothing i'd ever before experienced. i started out with from russia with love, not knowing that the books are in a series, but it was really an adventure. fleming's writing is crisp, reflective of his journalistic heritage, which makes it exciting and page-turning. (though after reading many of the books, i've found his writing to be confusing, in that i don't really get what's transpiring). i think my brother read fleming long before i did, cuz after i read frwl, i found a copy of it in his room.

but, the bond books are really unlike anything i've experienced. i still remember the image of the train in that first book, the spectacular character of the turk - one of the most amazing characters i've ever seen, he was hilarious and hulking and strange and cruel but kind. how diverse are fleming's settings and characters and events. how queer and curious are the characters, and how wonderfully does he investigate them (bond doesn't even show up till halfway through frwl). 'how does he come up with this stuff!' is a refrain that repeats in my head every time i read one of his books. (of course, fleming used to have to come up with unbelievable situations as part of his job at the secret service). what obscure situations bond finds himself in, what mind-blasting lines and comments! mostly all would now be considered racist and misogynistic. which is true, regarding the racism (the first time i read the word 'negress' was in live and let die, though that was prolly not racist back then).

but i like the freedom with which he expresses those thoughts, unobscured by convention and concern, especially regarding his attitude towards women. they are always strong but delicate, waiting to be saved. they behave and speak like innocent little girls, and fall completely in love with bond (like the strange strange tale of honey rider in dr no), except for gala brand in moonraker, the one girl he doesn't sleep with.

in frwl, i remember the vivid, savage battle between two women for bond's affections, around a campfire with the community watching. i remember the woman that kerim the turk told bond he had had to chain under a table, starving her body in order to break her spirit so she would submit to him sexually. 'women were for recreation,' bond reflects in casino royale, the first of the series. 'on the job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around.' when they first meet, vesper lynd (cr) looks at him 'with a touch of ironical disinterest which, to his annoyance, he found he would like to shatter, roughly.' at one point in casino royale bond 'wondered about vesper’s morals. He wanted her cold and arrogant body. He wanted to see tears and desire in her remote blue eyes and to take the ropes of her black hair in his hands and bend her long body back under his.' it's vivid.

matt damon said that 'bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. he's repulsive.' but i think jason bourne is boring. so boring that i don't even remember any dialogue from that character, or any expression on his face in any of his three movies. bond is alluring and engrossing and quickening. he is full of a controlled passion, which comes across in what is called 'the fleming sweep', in which fleming tells us about bond's likes and dislikes in travel, clothing, food and wine, luxury items, referring to specific brand names, pre-dating modern chick lit in that arena.

bond is meticulous in everything he does. he has few personal interests, he plans his time perfectly. he is a cold person, to be sure, and unlike the bond of the films, he rarely makes jokes. he loves food, all of the books have lengthy descriptions of well-thought out meals that he decides to order and eat slowly: 'when in London, bond maintains a simple routine. sitting down to The Times, he breakfasts on two large cups of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex and an egg served in a dark blue egg cup with a gold ring round the top, boiled for three and a third minutes. There is also wholewheat toast, Jersey butter and a choice of Tiptree 'Little Scarlet' strawberry jam, Cooper's Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegen Heather Honey from Fortnum and Mason, served on blue Minton china. Breakfast is prepared by May, his Scottish housekeeper, whose friend supplies the speckled brown eggs from French Marans hens.' he loves his different bentleys (read more): 'bond's car was his only personal hobby. one of the last of the 4,5 litre bentleys with the supercharger by amherst villiers, he had bought it almost new in 1933 [...] bond drove it hard and well and with an almost sensual pleasure. it was a battleship-grey convertible coupe, which really did convert and it was capable of touring at ninety with thirty miles an hour in reserve.' he loves smoking: specifically a blend of balkan and turkish tobacco with a higher than average tar content specially ordered from morland's of grosvenor street, made with three gold bands on the filter signifying his (and fleming's) commander rank in the secret service; he holds them in a trademarked monogrammed gunmetal case and lights them with his battered black oxidised ronson lighter.

the bond books are unlike anything i had ever experienced. bond was a fascinating character, made more fascinating by how similar fleming was to his creation: he loved jamaica, made a house there (called goldeneye), used to go diving every morning, play cards at night with friends, come home with women. while they loved cards (casino royale, dr no, are full of chapters of descriptions of card-playing), i don't think bond or fleming loved women. the real bond was a careless philanderer, a little like connery and a little like craig. but, in a way, what the bond character has really come to represent is a love for women. the new release of the bond books shows this clearly, (an article on the covers of the different series) as all the covers are pictures of the female characters: see here. i really like this series, which is brand new, but i quite love the coldness of the penguin modern classics series (see here), and i think my brother does too. in many ways, the character of bond and the life of fleming have affected me deeply.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

for n ...

i never understood why garfield hated mondays. it was so obscure to me. growing up in a muslim country, monday was the second day of the school week, and i was continually confused by the fat cat's despisal of that day. why on earth would he hate mondays? i mean, why not tuesdays or wednesdays for that matter? for me, sunday was the first day of the week and i hated it cuz it came after the week-end. and it took yeeears before i got garfield's gripe.


i love mtl. everytime i leave i want to come back. everytime i go somewhere else i realise how great it is here. the people here have a joie de vivre that keeps them pursuing pleasure all night every night. they're beautiful they're fun they're full of a certain 'i don't know what'. i love how small this town is, i can go from my side to st laurent to atwater to old port to laurier to mont-royal to duluth in like three to five minutes. it's constant fun.

Friday, February 13, 2009


some people take good news with a contracted zygomatic major. some people pervert it and corrupt it until it is bitter. until it is a burden. they cannot see the way out of it. even though it is good news, it is a thornbush.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

pointless/perfection. pear/pair.

nothing means anything. we are all flotsam of a lonesome jetty, urged onwards by a current not of our own volition. we are victims of its caprice.
nothing is without meaning. all is pregnant with purpose. it is our propulsion on the ship of life, coasting us casually past wreckage, anchoring us at shores of contentment, gliding us steadfastly into the sun.
from time to time, and all the time, i try. i try here and there. i seek to the attainment of the objects of my desire, and in the pursuit of my passion they are mine so often, but so often only imaginally, and thus they poof away like vaporous clouds trying to be grasped.
in honesty, it's not enough effort or skill that i employ. but hope re-springs eternally in me, a symptom of grace's ever-effulgent mercy; its hand on my hand. tomorrow's promise is a bargain re-struck nightly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the values of baby looney tunes

i watched this show because i like to keep cartoons on in the background. it was lame. but, i noticed something about it that i hadn't been seeing much of elsewhere: really overt exemplifications of positive values for kids. for example, there was one episode in which bugs and babs were fighting becuase they no longer wanted to share their room or toys. but daffy and the others got them to unknowingly meet each other, and convinced them that they ought to share, that they ought to get along, because they had been friends for so long, and so had they all, and, it is better to share and love than to hoard and fight. most of the cartoons i see on teletoon are fun and frivolous and sex. maybe it's because this show was on nickelodeon that it was explicit in its promotion of positive values; maybe it's because all the voice actors in it are canadian. regardless, i was pleased to see a show whose basis was essentially the adventures in co-operation of a group of anthropomorphised animal children.

Monday, February 9, 2009

for aditi ...

he's just not that into you -- good to very good
was quite interesting and entertaining. so many characters, all intertwined, and much was shown about their personalities and quirks. it was interesting to see the subtle reactions and interactions of all the diff characters. no real plot or character problems, except that it was a bit massively confusing to follow who did what and who was who. but for the most part it was well done and fun.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

e poi ... e poi

a wicked track, totally funk, coming out of italo-disco from '81. yea, pino's cheesy and dramatic but that's what it is. unlike american disco, european disco was much less sexual, more about the fun of it, and, incidentally, about space (new age). "This kind of music seems to expand the listener's surrounding to a very large space with the utilization of new music shaping technologies by the artists." the heavy use of the synthesizer led to that spacey feel, but a lot of the songs were actually about space, and robots, and love. (this one isn't, though.)

the fatality of friendship

'do you know what it feels like?', asks enrique. i suppose everyone does, it's a shared human experience. in every interaction, one gives something of one's self, in trust, to another. but the disparity of it, the inconsistency of reciprocation, is traumatic. how often it is that your friend doesn't want to be your friend anymore. and how often it is that where once love prevailed, or at least pretended to, is now barren of passion and plagued by tension and discomfiture. and how often it is that that barrenness is unexpected; though its spectre looms we ignore its shadow. at least you can predict birds' annual southward flight, enrique sings, but 'love: you never know the minute it ends'. everything of this world is fallible, everything of this world is terminable. despite knowing this, we still must run the gamut of interaction and its outcomes good and bad. despite knowing this, we can do naught but live and give more fully, more passionately, more completely; to do else is to die.

despondency is a sin. failures should be forgotten and new efforts made. life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best we can, but a lofty and exalted destiny.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

beauty's quickening

beauty inspires a passion, a quickening that's sickening, and wrenching, and exciting, but mostly painful in its intangibility, its remoteness. it's unattainable, though it flaunts itself before you. though it envelops and enlivens, and animates and drives-crazy, it's unattainable. though it's a veil and not real, it's unattainable even in its physical form. it's faraway and never today.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


youth forever bangkok drink / book root beer date / district of thinking outside the box gaylord so far twenty minutes by car two hours by car / luncheon in london / youth / american teenager in montreal / hair orange nails black nails blond hair / down hot sufficient or not / it's just so naturally brilliant i want it but can't i have it? / please / nice but lame precise and boring / most ppl see not what's there in reality but what's there in their minds / this is not something i like and it will disappear / forever.